Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Maupiti... "Little Bora Bora" Amazing.

Hello Everyone,

Well, we are anchored here in Maupiti.  This is an amazing little stop and is named the Little Bora Bora of long ago.  It is like stepping back in time here.  The waters are amazing hues of turquoise, greens and crystal clear.  There is a rugged cliff that over hangs the small village of people with 3 churches, three stores, a post office, a snack shack and one gas station.  There are a number of artisants that live along the road side selling there necklaces, bracelets and wind chimes made out of shells and little seeds.  

Our Anchorage.. The bakery is at the bottom of the rock

We have been playing here for a few days now and our all time favorite has been diving with the giant manta rays.  They average 12 feet across and are the most graceful creatures to watch gliding below you.  The often just hover in one space and you can get pretty close to them without bothering them.  We can’t touch them because the bacteria on our hands can infect them but to get close to them is just amazing.  

The kids have also been wake boarding around the lagoon and practicing flying the kites for the kite surfing in the shallow waters off our anchorage.  The wind hasn’t been strong enough to get anyone up and out of the water for long but they have been having fun being pulled around with these big kites.

The island is so clean and immaculate... They even decorate their fish for sale... 

A mailbox... so cute with just their names on it.  With only 1000 inhabitants not much else is needed.

While the boys were off playing with the kites, Anna (From our friends on Shine) Alina and I took a walk around the island.  It is 10k around and a really beautiful walk.  We were on the search for Chez MiMi.  It was suppose to be a lovely place to hang out and have a snack while playing on the beach and wading through the shallow waters all the way across to the other lagoon.  The entire time we walked we were greeted with many hellos, waves and smiles from the villagers.  Even a few stopped to see if they could help us.  There was a section that we had to climb up and over a hill and the views from above were tremendous.  It really shows you the splendor and contrasts of the green lush of the islands with the gradients of the blues go out towards the reef of the lagoon surrounding the islands.  After about 2 hours we found Chez Mimi, funny enough it is not signed from the road so after many of waves from the neighbors to keep walking and a few wrong turns down random driveways we finally found it.  It was nice to have a stop and get a little reenergized after walking in the heat of the day (half carrying Alina around the island).  It was a beautiful little stop with a palm leaf grass hut on the white sand beach.  We are hoping to go back today with everyone for lunch if the weather holds out.  We hear you can rent bikes and it would be fun to do another excursion around the island on bikes this time.

When we got back we were rushed to another boat were the kids were having a bake off.  While we were gone the girls Xesca on Shine, Alexia and Hailey on Miss Behaving, all had baked cakes and were having a cake competition.  They were all made from scratch and were amazing.  The judges were from our boats plus Por Dos (another cruising catamaran with twin boys that are about 16.  It is really nice to see what the girls can accomplish, not to mention a really nice treat as well for all the families.  

This morning we woke up and decided to do the local climb to the top of the mountain.  It looked great from our vantage point we could see the flag at the top our destination and some people told us it was just a 40 minute climb to the top.  Well we started our venture up.  There were about 16 of us from our 4 boats that are anchored here with all the kids.... Including Amaia and Alina.  Let’s just say that they should put a sign at the beginning of the trail it is for mountain goats and mountain climbers.  This trail was anything but easy... it is amazing, picturesque, lush, dense forest with many roots to use as the stair case to climb or should I say ladder.  This trail is for the most part straight up and at point there are repelling lines to help you get over sections.  We had run into a few people on our way up and they looked at us like we were crazy with all these kids and for the most part the circus was in flip flops or barefoot.  To add to the drama, when we got to the steepest part we were drenched with a squall for about 30 minutes... the kids thought it was fun until we began our trek down... it was so slippery with mud and rock that I felt like we were in a scene from Romancing the Stone where they go flying down the mud slide... It was a little sketchy and I had to help Amaia repel down this side of a mountain (actually you couldn’t see me when I went down if you were above) in the rain.  I think I finally stopped shaking when 1 hour later when Amaia and I reached the actual steps that marked the beginning of the trail.  The view was spectacular... Alexia, Chris, Tristan made it to the top... Amaia and I almost made it... the last 30 feet were just to much and then Mykaela stayed with Alina and turned around before the really sketchy part... I am so glad they did.

Right now on our path we have quite a bit of cruising boats with kids.  We have all seemed to meet in Bora Bora and are taking a similar trail to Tonga.  Por Dos (2 boys 16), Shine (3 kids 17, 15, 12) Miss Behaving (12, 10) Family Circus (21, 13, 12, 8, 6) SkyUs (12 and 8) are the ones that I know of that should all be surging onto Suwarrow next week.  It will be a really fun anchorage for about 4 days while we explore that little island in the middle of no where.  

Today we are leaving for Mopelia because a local guy named Ringo came to the boat last night and asked if we were going and if so could we take some boxes and gas to his brother Alfred on Mopelia... so we decided to definitely help these people out as much as we could.. they are ever so generous and warm... Mopelia is very isolated with only 20 inhabitants living on the island and they only get a supply ship once every 8 months... I cant even imagine their resourcefulness..   so with that said we are going to the next island Mopelia which is about 100 miles away and that would only give us 3 days to Suwarrow.  We will stop over there for a day or so and then make our way to Suwarrow.  Suwarrow is our next stop after Mopelia and one of the stops that Chris is really looking forward to on our trip.  It is an island that you can not get to unless you have your own boat or you are one of the two rangers that inhabit it for six months of the year.  The island is completely uninhabited except for the stop of cruisers on their way to Tonga.  It is a well protected lagoon and a good anchorage to catch up on sleep.   It is suppose to be stunning with the white sandy beach and crystal clear waters... lots of black tip reef sharks and good snorkeling so we hear.  Sometimes the rangers will have a beach barb-e-que with the coconut crabs they catch.  We are really looking forward to the next stage of our adventure and are hoping for smooth sails for the next 4 to 5 days.

Hugs and love to everyone,


Friday, July 24, 2015

Good Bye Society Islands :@( ..... Hello Tonga :@)

Hello Everyone,

Well this is just a quick note to say that we have officially checked out of the French Polynesia and we will be departing today on a 1200 mile passage to Tonga.  We are right now anchored outside of the MaiKai Marina in Bora Bora and have been here for a week.  We have been very busy doing errands and chores getting ready for this passage.  It is the usual week of preparations to make sure the boat is all ready to go.  Provisioning several days trying to hit when the supply ship comes in to get the freshest (if any) fruit and vegetables available... I was able to buy cabbage, lettuce, celery, cucumbers, carrots, eggplant, oranges, apples and pears.... So excited to have something not out of a can... and by the way those were our only options except for bok choy...  Chris has been busy checking off the boat list and changing oils, filters, repairing the clutch in the anchor windless, replacing a hose in the generator so we don't keep grinding out the impellers for our water pump and many other tasks I am not sure about.  Also of course loading up on fuel to last us for a month out there.  Getting all of our interneting done with banking issues, school items.. (yes the kids are still in school and finishing up for this year) and so on...

I was able to take the kids to the dentist here in Bora Bora.  It was great having them all cleaned and checked.  I am happy to report no cavities for the 4 girls and only one for tristan that we already new about in Mexico because a sealant had fallen out.  All in all the experience was great and he could get us all in the next day and it was less than $300 for all the work to be done.  Not quite the same thoroughness in the cleaning process as we have come to be used to with our amazing friend and dentist at home Dr. Mori (the kids really miss you guys by the way!)

We were able to haul the boat out in Raiatea and have some minor maintenance done.  We had changed out our ruder bushings, oil seal change in the port engine and some touch ups on the bottom of the boat.  The guys at Raiatea Caranage were amazing, thorough and really went out of their way to try and fit us in before our visa expired.  They were always smiling and having a good time while they worked and most of them have worked in the boat yard for over 15 years.  Really great work.

We will miss the Society Islands a lot and have really enjoyed out time here.  There are certain islands that really open their arms for the cruisers and then there are a small few that aren't quite as welcoming but still overall a very good experience.  They are truly beautiful with their deep purple blue waters in the lagoons, lush tropical forests, white sandy beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters and picturesque sunsets and the people are incredibly beautiful with always a smile to welcome you.  You can really feel the warmth of their spirit and the true sense of family and loyalty amongst all of them.  I just can't quite capture the variety of shades of blues we have seen over the last 3 months... it still astounds me every time we come into new waters...  Just look at a blue raspberry slushy and then image floating around in it for miles and miles...

Here we go on to chase more sunsets....... a new adventure awaits us in the Kingdom of Tonga.

Hugs and love to all,


Monday, July 13, 2015

You know your a cruiser when....its fun playing in the deeper waters and chasing sharks...

Hello Everyone,

This is just a little picture update.  We had a great time playing today.  We took our boat out through the channel today with our friends from Shine and Lorien and we are on the search for the lemon sharks.

There is a well known dive spot just outside of the channel that everyone goes to swim with the lemon sharks.  The winds have died down and the water is crystal clear today... it is so amazing to swim in the beautiful purplish blue waters when the clarity is 50 feet or more... it is really amazing and so relaxing to be out there suspended on top watching all the fish below.

You can see the bottom of the ocean and we are anchored in 75 feet of water

Lemon Shark not to impressive... to deep to get closer

Mykeala working on her free diving looking for lemon sharks... she was pretty hard to see 50 feet down... it's like Where's Waldo except underwater.

Then a little wake boarding through the lagoon.... and amongst a few of our friends boats... It is really nice to have such generous friends on Shine who constantly use their dinghy for all the fun adventures... Thanks Guys... You complete us! (hee hee)


When we got back to the boat they wanted to do an afternoon dive in the canyons outside of the hilton... Looking for the manta rays... but ended up just playing instead... found a giant moray eel that made the trip worth it.


George, Archie (From Shine) and Tristan

Alexia and Xesca (from Shine) are dancing underwater ... Alexia is doing ballet in the back

While the big kids are out scuba diving and wake boarding the little girls are having their own party on the boat jumping off and posing competitions.... Amaia is getting pretty good at diving down deeper already.

Ready together now 1.2.3 JUMP!

Posing just like big sister.....

We will be leaving Bora Bora tomorrow so I am not sure how great our wifi will be so I wanted to get some of these amazing pictures loaded today... not that the pictures are amazing but the clarity of the water.  It looks like a giant swimming pool today with the suns rays reflecting through the water and making their prisms on the sea floor below.

Have a great day and hugs and love to everyone.


Bora Bora in on a squall... now nothing but sunshine

Hello Everyone,

We have been here in Bora Bora since Wednesday now... Our ride over from Raiatea was miserable... the seas were fine but we were stuck in a squall the entire time that stayed with us until Friday.  We were competely drowned rats.  I was so tired of the rain and unappreciative of our surroundings... why, because I couldn't even see the mountain Bora Bora is known for right in front of us.  We had less than 1/2 a mile visibility through the rain.  Now I am from Oregon and I can take the rain... but this is to much...

Once the squalls went away and the skies have cleared we have been out adventuring and discovering why this is such an amazing destination.  We started at the Mai Kai Marina on one of their mooring balls.  We found everyone there so completely friendly and welcoming that we ended up staying a few days.  It was quite the refresher from the other islands we have been at lately.  They had a little swimming pool that the kids loved playing in... it is funny that they want to swim in this tiny little pool when they have the entire Bay to swim in.  The Bay is warmer, clearer and has fun little friends swimming with you.   Speaking of which we went snorkeling here at the end of the bay and found the fish to be so curious that they came up and swam with you and often tried to take little nibbles from you.  Fortunately not all the fish we saw had the same idea.  Chris and I had a 4 - 5 foot Barracuda watching us and circling us the entire time we were playing with the littler fish.  It was quite daunting to look up and see this thing sneaking up behind you.  The first time I saw it I thought it was a lemon shark and almost climbed inside Chris's swim trunks.

Bora Bora is filled with all inclusive resorts and resorts that have shut down and have been abandoned.  Most of the beaches that we anchor next to are private or guarded if the place has been abandoned and you are not allowed on.  These hotels are in prime locations that are amazing... It's really a shame to see them deserted and falling apart.  We are closish to one of the only public beaches here and decided to go.  The beach is really nice and clean and next to an area of water that remains shallow for several hundred feet.  On our way over to the beach in our dinghy we saw eagle rays and sting rays gliding bellow the surface in the shallow waters... we never seem to get tired of watching them... they are the new dolphin for us...sort of.

 Abandoned Hotel right in front of us

We have had a wonderful time here, even trying to see what we can of the Heiva Celebration.  It is so wonderful to see how the entire community comes together to put this program together and I love how it keeps the spirit and traditions alive in all of the French Polynesian Islands.  It is really beautiful to be able to see everyone coming together and participating and dressing up with all of the head dresses, leis and floral attire...  I think my favorite are the group drum competitions that you can hear almost nightly at any anchorage on any island we are on.  Everyone is either practicing or the competitions are happening.  The nightly steady beating of drums echoing throughout the lagoons is a sound I will miss for a long time to come. 

Hope everyone is doing great and enjoying their summer... I love seeing all the pictures in Facebook of all of your summer travels... It is really fun for us to see pictures of everyone at home.  We miss you guys a ton.

Hugs and love to all.